Friday, April 18, 2008

Another one bites the dust: Shaughnessy

It was confirmed this afternoon that Matt Shaughnessy, the last remaining healthy defensive lineman on the Wisconsin roster, broke his leg in practice last night. Great. Does Azree Commander have any eligibility left?

To recap, the walking wounded on the D-line include: Shaughnessy, Kirk DeCremer, Jason Chapman, Brandon Hoey, Dan Moore, Dan Cascone, and Mike Newkirk. So at the spring game tomorrow it's Jeff Stehle, O'Brien Schofield, and some guys they picked up at the Nat on the D-line.

At one point, the injuries didn't bother me, because they allowed some younger guys to get more reps in spring practice. But this is ridiculous. Assuming all of these guys are back in time for fall camp - a big assumption that it is probably not appropriate to make - the unit should be at least mediocre. But add that on top of our two best cornerbacks recovering from knee injuries, and the defense becomes even more of a question mark than it was in January.

Then again ... last year's unit came in with a lot of hype and underdelivered. I've got a feeling that we'll be really down on the D coming into this season and they'll play better than expectations. Why?

1. I think Shaughnessy will be back and fully healthy by August and dominate this fall.
2. I think Jonathan Casillas and DeAndre Levy will be All-Big Ten-type guys this season, and Elijah Hodge and his platoon mates will be good enough in the middle.
3. I think Shane Carter will show a more well-rounded game, and our play at cornerback will not be disastrous.
4. Our defense has been really good in even-numbered years under Bielema. That one's a stretch, and I don't think this unit will be as good as those from 2004 and 2006 ... but what were your expectations for the defense in those years?

We may have the offensive horses to win some shootouts this fall, but who can tell with the offense playing against the JV squad. Has there been a less interesting spring game in recent memory? Like most people, I'm most interested in seeing if Allan Evridge or Dustin Sherer outplay one another, and how Johnny Clay looks.


Mr.Man said...

Scott, how is this Spring Game any less interesting than any Spring Game? They always seem sort of half-baked because the team loses all its seniors and then usually gains no freshman. This time around, there are at least some key position battles to watch-- QB, WR, SS-- and some young heralded players to follow, specifically Clay. Last season, were there any question marks besides QB?

Also, don't know if you saw this, BB has decided to give a student season tickets in every sport in for the '08-'09 school year, if they can field a punt cleanly. That should be hilarious.

Scott Tappa said...

Because most spring games are missing a handful of fall starters - this one is missing the entire defensive line, both cornerbacks, the top two tight ends, and at least one starting wideout. So while on one hand, it's fun to see new guys get a shot, there's not too much you can tell if it's a glorified practice. Especially if, as has been mentioned, they play a skeleton game with three offensive linemen and two D-linemen.

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